Gas is often regarded as a ‘clean’ fuel, but air pollutants released from the combustion of methane indoors can cause or exacerbate illness involving the heart, lungs brain or nervous system. Open flued gas space heaters (OFSGHs) can sometimes provide a direct pathway for these pollutants into a room. DEA recommends a phase out of OFGSHs, which includes a ban on all new installations (Option 3).
CO poisoning is the most serious complication of the use of gas appliances. CO is a tasteless, colourless, odourless gas. Once inhaled, CO passes from the lungs to the bloodstream where it replaces oxygen on haemoglobin molecules within the red blood cells. As exposure continues, the haemoglobin is unable to carry enough oxygen to meet the body’s needs. Individual cells then die, including cells in the brain and heart. Permanent brain and nerve damage can occur even at levels too low to be detectable by CO alarms.
Death can occur within minutes of very high level exposure.
Read DEA’s full submission to the Victorian Government’s discussion paper here